Speaking to Google at the Android team's office hours event, we learned that Android N's new seamless update feature, borrowed from Chrome OS, will not be introduced on any current Nexus devices. While the benefits of seamless updates' usage of dual system partitions to allow OS updates to proceed in the background are substantial, they're also a bit of a technical bear to put on existing smartphones. Implementing seamless updates on the Nexus 5X or 6P, for example, would require repartitioning the entire phone, and wouldn't be possible for an end user to complete without hooking the phone up to a computer, allegedly - it would just be a pain, in short.
Android has always made use of location services in various ways, including recent innovations like location-based smart lock. What if your phone could truly understand what's going on in the world around it with a simple API? That's Google's new Awareness API, which was just announced at I/O.
Google will be launching its new Allo chat application in the coming weeks, and with it comes true end-to-end encryption. Open Whisper Systems has announced that its own Signal Protocol is powering the encryption in Allo. It's not on by default, which has sent some privacy purists into a fit, but this is still a very good thing.
You might be seeing a lot more of Android Pay in the coming months. Google has deployed a new set of APIs for developers to build Pay into mobile web sites, instant apps, and even your email. The goal is to make the payment process faster and easier on mobile devices, but only in countries where Android Pay is accepted.
You know how when you use your phone or tablet for long periods of time, it gets a little warm? Sometimes it even goes toasty — hi, Snapdragon 810! — and app performance suffers: you start seeing lags and stutters and things don't work as smoothly or as reliably as they should. That's because the system throttles the SoC when it risks reaching its limit temperature. This is the kind of performance issues that the new Sustained Performance Mode aims to solve.
There's a new 'Sustained Performance API' in the latest Android N Developer Preview 3. It works based on feedback provided by OEMs regarding each device and its performance for long-running apps.
The first two N Developer Previews were alpha releases, so naturally a good number of things didn't work correctly. One of the apps that purposely did not work as intended was Android Pay, which produced a screen saying it was disabled until a future release. As Developer Preview 3 is now officially a beta, the Android team has seemingly seen fit to restore Android Pay to working order.
The reason Android Pay now works is because Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) is now approved. This also means other apps that depend on CTS should work too. On Developer Preview 1 and 2, this was not approved, and so Android Pay did not work.
Earlier this month, Google updated the Google Keyboard to version 5.0 with plenty of new gestures, optional borders, one-handed mode, and more features. However, version 5.0 was not compatible with Android N, so those running the Preview couldn't benefit from it.
This is now fixed with Android N's third Preview. The new image includes Google Keyboard 5.1 that not only brings all of the same changes, but also adds two new cool features: themes and all those new emojis we were promised with Android N. Unfortunately, there's no sign of that iOS GBoard action. Oh bugger.
Google Keyboard 5.1 includes a new setting section for themes.
Psssssst. You, yeah you. I know you're waiting for Google I/O to start and you're impatiently twiddling your thumb, unlocking and relocking your phone to see if YouTube is about to notify you of the livestream, and maybe staring at your Android Wear watch every two minutes to see what time it is. I've got something for you though: a deal on an ASUS OnHub.
What is that? This isn't as exciting as I/O?! How dare you? Seriously, how would you even watch I/O keynotes or read Android Police or download the latest N image if you don't have a nice router you can connect to the internet with?
Developers got a nice treat earlier today when Google released a new dashboard app in the Play Store. That one is available to all right away, but there's another new developer-oriented release called Playbook that you'll have to join a beta to get. Playbook is an app that aggregates help articles, tips, and videos that help you create a better app.
Today at I/O 2016, Google announced two new messaging and communication apps: Allo, a messaging app which hooks into your phone number, and Duo, a video calling app. You might assume that means Hangouts would be quietly canned (or as quietly as possible, anyway), right? Not so.
Google has confirmed to Android Police that the company will continue to invest in Hangouts and it will remain a separate product. In a way, this does make sense: as Allo requires a phone number, it might be aimed as a WhatsApp competitor, while Hangouts remains as a Facebook Messenger competitor. On the other hand, would it not be better to have one singular product focused on messaging?